T-D HS Tennis

Area players set to begin state tournament

By: Cory Isenberg

Central Cambria’s Kourtney Cavalier will be among the 16 girls who will battle for a PIAA Class AA Singles Tennis Championship crown and two area duos are among the 16 in the Class AA doubles bracket at the state tournament which begins today at the Hershey Racquet Club.
For all five area players, it is the first time that they will be making an appearance in the state tournament.
Of the 16 singles players, four are freshmen, including Cavalier.
The District 6 champion will battle District 11 champion Tyra Ott of Wilson, also a freshman, in the opening round, which is set to get underway at
9 a.m.
Cavalier said she has been working hard and playing more matches.
“I have to work to be consistent and aggressive,” Cavalier said. “I’m hoping she (Ott) will be nervous just like me. I’ve played a lot of other tournaments and whenever you go to them, you have to learn to control your nerves and try to take deep breaths and keep focused.”
Cavalier is coached by Jamie Taylor of the Ebensburg Tennis Center.
“My coach said that you’re nervous when you aren’t prepared, and I feel as though I am prepared so I shouldn’t be nervous,” Cavalier said.
In doubles, Windber senior Cate McClain and junior Cassie Wentz, the District 5 champs, will face Wyomissing seniors Greta Koch and Caroline Pattillo, the District 3 champions.
Forest Hills District 6 champions, senior Rachel Blanchetti and junior Emily Goldyn, will play District 11 winners Kara Chyung, a junior, and Mia Chyung, a senior, of Moravian Academy.
Doubles are scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. today.
The four area doubles players spent their respective seasons playing singles.
“It’s always tough to put together singles players as doubles because they are both so independent, but I felt confident putting Cate and Cassie together because they both have such strong games,” Windber coach Joe Podrebarac said. “They both have good groundstrokes, are mobile and are good at the net.”
McClain has been a four-year starter with the Ramblers while Wentz is in her second year as a starter.
This is the first time that the school has won both a team title as well as a doubles crown in the district in the same season.
“All season, I’ve been telling the girls that they have to be on top of their game from the very beginning and to be aggressive from the very first point,” Podrebarac said. “Going into states everybody has to be on top of their game.”
Forest Hills coach John Waksmunski said that his doubles duo first got together just a few days before the District 6 tournament.
“It worked out OK for them,” Waksmunski said. “Rachel is a steady influence and plays with more confidence as well as being a better volleyer while Emily has some flashier shots and is a little bit better server and has a good backhand.”
Both doubles coaches said their players are eager for the opportunity to play in the state tournament.
“They want to represent the school well and play their best when they get there,” Waksmunski said. “They have chemistry with each other and work well together. They also appreciate each other. They want to have fun and enjoy the opportunity and do as well as they can.”
The quarterfinals in singles and doubles will also be today.
The semifinals and finals are scheduled for Saturday at Hershey Racquet Club.